If someone describes you as a pillar of strength, he's saying you're reliable and supportive, much like a pillar or column of a building that helps hold the structure up.

The spelling of the word pillar looks like it has two pillars right at its center, holding the word up. Pillar is interchangeable with the word column, though you can't always use them in the same contexts. While a column and a pillar are both physical cylindrical structures, a column can also be the row running up and down on a chart, while a pillar is often someone or thing that is considered a foundation or support. Someone indispensable to your company might be considered a pillar to the organization.

Definitions of pillar

n (architecture) a tall vertical cylindrical structure standing upright and used to support a structure

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atlas, telamon
a figure of a man used as a supporting column
a supporting column carved in the shape of a person
the central pillar of a circular staircase
a rectangular column that usually projects about a third of its width from the wall to which it is attached
pile, piling, spile, stilt
a column of wood or steel or concrete that is driven into the ground to provide support for a structure
support column
a column that supports a heavy weight
lally, lally column
support column consisting of a steel cylinder filled with concrete
sheath pile, sheet pile, sheet piling
a pile in a row of piles driven side by side to retain earth or prevent seepage
Type of:
upright, vertical
a vertical structural member as a post or stake

n a vertical cylindrical structure standing alone and not supporting anything (such as a monument)

Washington Monument
a stone obelisk built in Washington in 1884 to honor George Washington; 555 feet tall
a stone pillar having a rectangular cross section tapering towards a pyramidal top
totem pole
a tribal emblem consisting of a pillar carved and painted with totemic figures; erected by Indian tribes of the northwest Pacific coast
Type of:
construction, structure
a thing constructed; a complex entity constructed of many parts

n a prominent supporter

“he is a pillar of the community”
Type of:
admirer, booster, champion, friend, protagonist, supporter
a person who backs a politician or a team etc.

n a fundamental principle or practice

“science eroded the pillars of superstition”
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pillar of Islam
(Islam) one of the five religious obligations accepted by all Muslims
the first pillar of Islam is an affirmation of faith
salaah, salaat, salah, salat
the second pillar of Islam is prayer; a prescribed liturgy performed five times a day (preferably in a mosque) and oriented toward Mecca
the third pillar of Islam is fasting (primarily during the month of Ramadan); Muslims abstain from food and drink and gambling and all sensuous pleasures from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan
the fourth pillar of Islam is almsgiving as an act of worship
hadj, haj, hajj
the fifth pillar of Islam is a pilgrimage to Mecca during the month of Dhu al-Hijja; at least once in a lifetime a Muslim is expected to make a religious journey to Mecca and the Kaaba
Type of:
principle, rule
a basic generalization that is accepted as true and that can be used as a basis for reasoning or conduct

n anything that approximates the shape of a column or tower

“a thin pillar of smoke betrayed their campsite”
column, tower
a small column (or structure resembling a column) that is a part of a plant or animal
(geology) a column of weathered and unusually shaped rock
Type of:
form, shape
the spatial arrangement of something as distinct from its substance

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